SAINTS fans are rarely unified when it comes to their club's operations in the transfer window but they are coming pretty close.

Southampton are so far deploying a balanced policy and - crucially - work is being done early in the summer to aid preparations.

Martin has said in a new interview that fully buying into the club's direction is a non-negotiable character trait for any signing under him.

They have already added experience and competition to the squad with the free signings of Adam Lallana, 36, and Charlie Taylor, 30.

Between the pair, they have brought 452 Premier League appearances to Staplewood for pre-season this Wednesday.

Saints owner Dragan Solak spoke out this summer about Sport Republic's learning on the value of experience and know-how in the squad.

Sport Republic's Dragan Solak has invested heavily over more than two years at the clubSport Republic's Dragan Solak has invested heavily over more than two years at the club

That was one of the first points manager Russell Martin made when he came in and they will not hang young players out to dry.

However, the club's long-term philosophy remains developing young players and selling them for a significant profit.

It should not be looked down on as an unambitious direction - it is inevitable for a club outside the top six and proved key last summer.

The sales of Romeo Lavia (£53million) and Tino Livramento (£40million) were essential for CEO Phil Parsons to balance the books after relegation.

Parsons has delivered a negotiation masterclass with Saints now close to signing centre-backs Nathan Wood, 22, and Ronnie Edwards, 21.

The club are paying just £3million each in initial transfer fees for the England youth internationals tipped by many to be future stars.

Lyanco is set to depart for Brazil and the transfer fee Atletico Mineiro will pay will miraculously recoup most of the outgoing on Wood and Edwards.

They will sign long-term contracts to offer competition in defence and their value could quite conceivably increase by a factor of 10 or more.

These are also different types of young signings - they are not promising academy graduates with no experience in the men's game.

Wood and Edwards have 244 club appearances between them at League One and Championship level - including the cups. 

Clearly, there is a lot more work to do if Saints are to be competitive in the Premier League after a disastrous 2022/23 campaign.

They are attempting to re-sign loanees Flynn Downes and Ryan Fraser from West Ham and Newcastle United respectively.

The club must agree deals with their Premier League rivals for their release to stay at par with the squad that finished fourth in the Championship.

Striker Che Adams is out of contract with no word on his future yet, while goalkeeper Alex McCarthy has penned a new two-year deal.

Even if Adams were to re-sign, most supporters agree that Saints would need to go out and buy an ambitious new forward to lead the line.

The lack of links to strikers is a worry but number nines tend to get sold later in the window, once their options are thinned - as Saints know all too well.

Star man Kyle Walker-Peters is into the last 12 months of his deal and the club are being proactive on his possible replacement.

They have already had a £5million bid for AFC Bournemouth's Max Aarons rejected and hold interest in AZ Alkmaar's Yukinari Sugawara. 

Signing their first four players for a combined £6million should mean the club's powder is left dry to pursue more expensive targets.

Saints believe they are set to land Ronnie Edwards (right) from PeterboroughSaints believe they are set to land Ronnie Edwards (right) from Peterborough (Image: PA)

They have picked a pair from both ends of their career but the players who will move the needle will sit in that prime middle ground. 

Martin wants to sign 23 year old Celtic midfielder Matt O'Riley, - formerly at MK Dons - with the Dane expected to cost more than £20million.

They held initial interest in Sunderland winger Jack Clarke, 23, who was one of the Championship's best players last season.

Whether they will be able to land these specific individuals, the targets indicate a willingness to invest proper money towards survival.

Getting some over the line will be the litmus test with Dutchman Cody Gakpo haunting Saints with another major international tournament starring.

At a glance - depending on what formation Martin plans to play - Saints still need to sign Downes, Fraser, an attacking midfielder, a winger and a striker.

Outgoings should start to pick up speed with Romain Perraud currently the only unwanted Saints player to complete a permanent move. 

Lyanco will be next but Paul Onuachu, Duje Caleta-Car and Armel Bella-Kotchap could be among those who follow.

The jury will remain out until the transfer deadline on August 30 (11pm), and then until the league standing is confirmed at the end of May.

But the club are pleased with their start to the window and it proves to be a summer of promise as a reward for their Wembley win.